Hats were a fashion necessity in the 1890s and early 20th century, with feathered hats and accessories among the most stylish. Millions of birds were...

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Hats were a fashion necessity in the 1890s and early 20th century, with feathered hats and accessories among the most stylish. Millions of birds were killed to provide decoration for hats and other fashion until socially conscious women started a crusade for bird protection that’s now considered to be the first modern conservation movement. The crusaders against “killer hats” joined concerned scientists to form the Audubon Society, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

“Killer Hats: Birds on the Brink” at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma tells the story of this crusade, with feathered hats, capes and fashion prints from the early 20th century, along with reproductions of 12 original paintings of birds by John James Audubon from his classic “Birds of America.” Displays tell a story of environmentalism from then to the present, including efforts from the 1940s to preserve the bald eagle.

The exhibit continues at the museum through Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, until 8 p.m. Thursdays, and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Special events include family day programs with the Tahoma Audubon chapter, Sept. 27 and Oct. 15, and a Master Birder presentation Nov. 3. Museum admission is $6-$8, free from 5-8 p.m. Thursdays. On Wednesdays, visit three of downtown Tacoma’s cultural attractions, the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum, for $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $14 for students. Washington State History Museum is at 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; for more information, call 253-272-3500 or 888-238-4373 or see www.wshs.org/wshm.